Web Development and Design: What’s The Difference?

Monitor displaying web design aspects and a monitor display web development aspects (web development and design)

There is often confusion between the concepts of web development and design. Some people think that they are one and the same, while others believe they are two different disciplines. Today the two roles are more blended and nuanced than ever with the rise of no-code technology and so much available information online, creating hybrid “builder” roles. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between a web developer and a web designer and explore how the roles are evolving and will continue to evolve in the very near future.

What is web design?

web designer planning the layout of a web page on a computer

Web design deals with the visual aesthetic, visual elements, and usability of a website, including the color palette, layout, information flow, and UI/UX (user interface and user experience). Learn the difference between UX and UI here.

Aesthetics are important because they are what make the first impression on visitors and can be the difference between a user staying on your site or leaving.

Usability is just as important, if not more so than aesthetics because it determines how easy it is for visitors to find what they are looking for and navigate your site.

What do web designers do?

A web designer’s job is to make sure that a website looks good and is easy to use.

Web designers work with design software like the Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator) to create visual elements such as branding, color palettes, wireframes, design systems, graphics, and website mockups that are then passed off to web developers.

What is web development?

Monitors and laptops displaying back end code (web development)

Web development, on the other hand, deals with the more technical aspects of a website. A web developer brings the design of the website to life and makes sure that a website works well and can handle all the traffic that comes it’s way.

What do web developers do?

A web developer takes the designer’s mockups and turns them into code that a browser can understand. A web developer uses programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build interactivity into the site on the website’s front-end and back-end. The front-end is what users see and interact with on a website, while the back-end is what helps make all the features on a website work.

Front-end developers

Front-end developers are responsible for the look and feel of a website. They work with designers to create the layout and then use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to make it interactive.

Back-end developers

Back-end developers are responsible for the functionality of a website. They write code in languages like PHP, Ruby on Rails, and Java to make sure that the site works the way it’s supposed to. They develop databases that store information about the website’s users and content. They are also in charge of setting up the website hosting and security.

Full-stack developers

A full-stack developer is someone who can work on both the front-end and back-end of a website. They have a deep understanding of how everything works together and can solve problems no matter where they occur. This makes them a valuable asset for companies that want to save money by having one person do the work of two.

Web Development and Design: What’s the difference?

Development is more focused on the functionality of the website, while web design is more focused on aesthetics. Web developers are more concerned with the back-end and server-side aspects of a website, while web designers are more concerned with the front-end and client-side aspects. Development is more coding-heavy, while web design is more graphical and visual.

Web Development can be divided into front-end and back-end development, while web design is usually considered to be one cohesive field.

The Hybrid Builder

Unicorn figurine

With the rise of no-code technology and the wealth of educational online resources, the roles of designers and web developers are more blended than ever, creating a hybrid role often referred to as a “builder” or a “unicorn.”

Hybrid jobs may be on the rise as designers and web developers with strong skill sets across both sides are highly sought out by many companies. They are especially helpful for moving small web projects such as landing pages or one-page websites through the whole design and developing phases quickly.

Larger-scale projects would still require a team of designers, copywriters, and developers, but having builders on your team makes for easier communication between the designers and developers as they are able to speak each other’s languages.

What is No-Code Technology?

No-code technology is a platform, or group of platforms, that allow you to create applications without any programming. Instead, you build your applications by dragging and dropping blocks of code, much like you would put together Lego bricks. No-code technology is sometimes also referred to as low-code technology.

Some popular no-code platforms include Wix, Squarespace, Bubble, Webflow, and WordPress. These platforms allow you to create everything from simple landing pages to full-fledged eCommerce applications without writing a single line of code.

What are the benefits of no-code technology?

Anyone can create a website

No-code technology makes it possible for anyone to create a website without any coding skills. You simply drag and drop blocks of code to create web pages and layouts. This makes it possible for anyone to build a website, regardless of their technical experience.

More cost-effective

One of the benefits of no-code technology is that it is more cost-effective than traditional web development. With no-code technology, you can create websites without paying for expensive coding services.


Dragging and dropping elements make building a website quicker than having to code them yourself.

Additionally, you aren’t relying on communication with a team of visual designers and developers, so you can get a website up quicker and make changes quicker.

More control and ownership

A user can update and make changes as they wish with no-code technology without relying on web designers and developers. They can also test different ideas. They will also own all of the created assets and will not have to rely on an agency to build them.

What are some limits to using no-code technology?

There is still a learning curve

Although no code technology makes it possible for people with little-to-no coding knowledge to create a website, there will most likely still be a learning curve. Users will still need to have a basic understanding of what makes a successful website, how to layout and design a captivating website with the right flow of information, and will need a basic understanding of search engine optimization to ensure your website will be seen by potential customers.

In addition to a basic understanding of both web design and web development, a person using no-code technology to build a website will also need to set aside the time to watch tutorials and learn how to use the tools provided by the no-code platform they choose.

The website may not be as professional as one created by experts

Although a website built with no-code technology may be less expensive and faster to create, it may not be as professional-looking as a website created by experts. Additionally, since the person creating the website is not a coding expert, they may not be able to create the exact look and functionality they desire for their website. A website builder may also be limited in the number of features and integrations they can provide for their users.

Coding is still required for some aspects of web development

No-code technology only helps with certain aspects of web development, there are still some parts of web development that will require coding skills. For example, if you want to add custom functionality to your website or need to develop a mobile app for your website, you will still need to hire developers with coding skills.

No-code technology is not a replacement for web development, it is simply a tool that can help with some aspects of web development. If you are looking to create a professional website, it is still best to hire experts in both web design and web development.

No support

Without knowledge of coding, there is no way to handle the maintenance of routine bugs and problems that may come up along the way. If something goes wrong with the website, the user may not be able to fix it themselves and will need to rely on the platform’s customer support to help resolve any issues.

Web Design vs Web Development: Summary

In conclusion, web design and web development are two very different but complementary disciplines. Web designers focus on the graphical and visual aspects of a website, while web developers focus on the functionality and backend aspects. Both roles are important in creating a successful website. In the future, we will see more hybrid builder roles as no-code technology becomes more prevalent. This technology makes it possible for anyone to create a professional website without any coding knowledge. While there are some negatives to using no-code technology, the positives outweigh them for most people. Hopefully, this article has helped clear up some confusion about these two roles and their future. Thanks for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between web design and web development?

Web design is the art of visualizing and planning what goes into a website’s design – from content to color schemes, typography, and layout. A web developer takes those plans and makes them a reality.

Web development typically requires knowledge in HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, or another programming language. Professional web developers should also know how each of these languages works together to create a cohesive website.

What is the difference between coding and programming?

Programming is the process of designing algorithms, while coding is the process of translating those algorithms into a specific language that can be read and executed by computers. In other words, programming is the logic behind the code, while coding is the actual implementation of that logic.

What are some common skills required for web development and web design?

A web designer needs to have a good eye for detail and be able to create visually appealing designs. A web designer also needs to have an understanding of color theory and typography. In addition, a web designer needs to be familiar with user experience principles and how to create designs that are easy to use.

A web developer needs to have strong coding skills and be able to create websites that are both functional and visually appealing. They also need to be familiar with server-side scripting languages, database technologies, and web hosting platforms. In addition, a web developer needs to have an understanding of how search engines work and how to optimize websites for better search engine ranking.

Check out our comprehensive guide to outsourcing web design.

What is the difference between front-end development and back-end development?

Front-end development is the process of creating the look and feel of a website, while back-end development is responsible for all of the functionality and workings behind the scenes. Think of front-end developers like the ones who bring the creative design to life to make your website pretty, and back-end developers as the ones who make sure everything works properly.

What are some common technologies and tools used in web design and web development?

Common technologies used in web design include the Adobe suite including Photoshop and Illustrator as well as some HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery. Web developers often use these same technologies, but they also use server-side languages such as PHP, Ruby on Rails, and ASP.NET.

Many web designers and developers are also using no-code web platforms such as Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, and WordPress.com. These platforms allow users to create a website without any knowledge of coding.

What is no-code technology?

No-code technology is used for designing and developing without writing code, using drag and drop interfaces to build functional prototypes.

What are the benefits of using no-code technology to create a website?

No-code technology can help you create a website without any programming or coding required. This makes it a great option for people who want to create a website but don’t have any coding experience. Additionally, no-code platforms often come with templates and pre-built components that make it easy to create a website without any design experience. Finally, using a no-code platform can be a great way to save time and money when creating a website.

Picture of Amanda Haney

Amanda Haney

Amanda is WGM's Account Executive She has a background in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, blog writing and photography for a successful men’s lifestyle blog, and family and wedding photography. She is in charge of managing our clients’ brands – from writing and editing website and blog content, managing social media, and creating promotional and internal documents. Amanda enjoys creative photography, singing covers of her favorite songs, traveling, and spending time with family, friends, and her dog Parker.

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